The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead


I usually tear through the books I receive for review so that I am able to talk about them as soon as possible.  I waited on this one knowing it would be a difficult and brutal look at the horror of slavery.  But when Oprah got the publication of this book moved up by weeks for her latest Book Club pick, I knew I could sit on it no longer.

I can usually finish a book of this size in two days tops, but this one I needed time to digest and take in slowly.  The story of Cora, a slave who risks it all to escape an abusive master, cut me to my core.  There were several parts of the book that required me to put it down and walk away from it for awhile as I processed the events described on the pages.  The systematic dehumanization of blacks in the US is so clearly outlined by the reactions and experiences of Cora and the other slaves in the story.  The expectation of being treated like property, the expectation of violence against them, the expectation by whites that they were not intelligent. Cora overcomes so many trials and near death experiences that she becomes very aware that she is more than a wealthy land owner’s property.  She has worth, a mind, and a faith in herself that comes through as the story progresses. Definitely worthy of the attention it is garnering especially considering the state of the country right now.  This is historical fiction written to perfection.

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